Numismatic Guaranty Corp. has graded and authenticated a third
“Frosted Freedom” Proof 2007-W American Eagle platinum coin, this one
a $50 half-ounce piece.
The owner of the coin, a California collector who wishes to remain
anonymous, discovered the anomalous coin in a four-piece set that he
purchased directly from the U.S. Mint in 2007.
All of the Frosted Freedom coins are “pre-production” strikes
inadvertently released by the United States Mint. The pre-production
and regular production pieces are distinguished by the surface
treatment of the word freedom on the reverse. The word is frosted on
the pre-production pieces and mirrored on production strikes.
Several months after reading Coin World’s reporting of the
variant, the collector retrieved his sets from storage and made the
discovery. He then submitted the coin to be authenticated and graded
Previous Proof 2007-W American Eagle platinum coins discovered
bearing the Frosted Freedom reverse are a 1-ounce $100 piece and a
quarter-ounce $25 coin. The recently discovered $50 coin is the first
of its denomination found bearing this variety and has been labeled by
NGC as a “Discovery Specimen.”
NGC has graded the piece Proof 69 Ultra Cameo.
The discovery of the first Frosted Freedom variety coin was
originally reported in the Feb. 7, 2011, issue of Coin World, when NGC
announced it had certified a 1-ounce $100 piece as a new variety.
Graded by NGC as Proof 70 ultra cameo, the 2007-W 1-ounce coin was
labeled as “FROSTED FREEDOM” and “DISCOVERY SPECIMEN” on its
Details of design differences
The reverse of all Proof 2007-W American Eagle platinum coins
features an eagle with outstretched wings with a shield covering the
eagle’s breast. Draped over this shield is a banner inscribed with the
W Mint mark of the West Point Mint at left (as seen from the
perspective of the viewer) and the word freedom at right.
On 2007-W platinum coins having a normal polishing pattern, the
incused word freedom displays the same brilliant finish as the coin’s
fields, thus standing out sharply within the frosted banner.
The variant coins, however, have the legend freedom frosted, so
that it blends in with the rest of the design on the reverse.
Though not error coins, their sale to the public was an error on
the part of the U.S. Mint.
The Mint confirmed that a small number of the coins were struck as
“pre-production” pieces and inadvertently released for sale. Michael
White of the Mint’s Office of Public Affairs stated that during the
pre-production process, officials decided that the word freedom on the
reverse would look better with a mirror finish than frosted as
originally designed, and prepared new dies for regular production.
According to the Mint, up to 12 1-ounce coins, 21 half-ounce coins
and 21 quarter-ounce coins with the frosted freedom inscription were
mistakenly sold. The Mint reported it struck no tenth-ounce $10
platinum strikes bearing the frosted finish for the word freedom.
Overall, the Mint sold 8,176 tenth-ounce pieces, 6,017
quarter-ounce pieces, 22,873 half-ounce pieces and 8,363 1-ounce
pieces in the Proof 2007-W American Eagle platinum coin program.
The owner of the $50 variant piece tells Coin World that
he has no plans to sell the coin. ■